Some of our favorite memories of the BWCA began with an entry point into Mudro Lake – about 18 miles north of Ely down the Echo Trail.

The Chainsaw Sisters Saloon was at the entry point at the end of a 6 mile gravel road. It was a welcome site for car sick children and a welcome site for adults at the end of the trip – nothing sounded better than a cold beer!

In 2009 the owners sold the saloon and moved to town. The Trust for Public Land purchased the land to preserve this popular entry point.

The trip through this entry point began with a walk next to the canoe, guiding it along a shallow, narrow stream into Mudro Lake.  Then, a relatively easy paddle across the lake to the 140 rod portage and then the real fun began.  The portage was long, uphill, tricky footing and tough on a hot day.  A few trips through the portage were typically required and kudos to Ernie, Diane, and Dan for navigating the canoes on their shoulders through the portage.

Rest assured, the long portage was worth it – once we entered Fourtown Lake, we found a beautiful lake with many camping opportunities.  Eagles and bountiful walleyes were a treat.

About 4 hours from The Chainsaw Sisters Saloon and we were setting up the tent, preparing dinner (spaghetti, grilled pizza, or steak for the first night), chilling the bladder of wine in the lake, pumping lake water through the filter, blowing up the king size air mattress, and hanging the food pack before night fall.  (Okay, the king size mattress weighed A TON – but it was so worth portaging it – thank you, sweetie)!  The mattress went into our dome tent and our family of four (two adults and two small girls) fit perfectly onto the mattress.  Rumbles of thunder no longer bothered me – I was going to stay dry!

The first time Dan and Diane heard the air pump inflating the mattress, they had no idea what we had going on in our tent.  Needless to say, Diane convinced Dan to ditch the small pads under the sleeping bags and the next time we camped, they too, portaged the heavy air mattress and air pump.

So, my top four things for a trip into the BWCA….

– Inflatable mattress

– Wine (bladder from boxed wine and kept cool in the lake)

– Diet coke (a plastic bottle for each day – thanks, Diane for indulging me and keeping it a secret from the guys)

– Benadryl – to sleep!

Stay tuned for more family-friendly BWCA tips…Paddling Part II to follow….snakes, shovel, snapping turtles, and much more!

Now I need to take Bo for his walk…..be well and travel to Ely!